Of­fi­cials ID renter’s body in Costa Rica

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - International - — COMPILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE RE­PORTS

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — In­ves­ti­ga­tors say a body found near an Airbnb rental in Costa Rica has been iden­ti­fied as that of Carla Ste­fa­niak of Florida.

The Mi­ami Beach woman dis­ap­peared on a trip to cel­e­brate her 36th birth­day.

The coun­try’s Ju­di­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion De­part­ment said it iden­ti­fied her us­ing fin­ger­prints.

Costa Ri­can of­fi­cials ar­rested 32-year-old Bis­mark Espinosa Martinez, a guard at the Villa Buena Vista resort near the Costa Ri­can cap­i­tal, af­ter he con­tra­dicted him­self in state­ments to po­lice. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said blood was found in his nearby apart­ment.

The de­part­ment said Wed­nes­day that Espinosa Martinez, who is from Nicaragua, was work­ing as a se­cu­rity guard at the com­plex de­spite lack­ing the proper doc­u­ments to be in Costa Rica. He is be­lieved to have lived in Costa Rica since June.

An au­topsy re­vealed that Ste­fa­niak suf­fered a blunt force wound to the head and cuts on the neck and arms.

A post­ing on the Find­ing Carla Facebook page said Costa Ri­can au­thor­i­ties al­lowed the fam­ily to view her body, which was found Mon­day half-buried and cov­ered in plas­tic near the Airbnb villa Ste­fa­niak had rented last month.

AP/EN­RIQUE MARTINEZ

Car­los Ca­ceido, the fa­ther of U.S. tourist Carla Ste­fa­niak who dis­ap­peared last week, talks Wed­nes­day about hav­ing to iden­tify her body at the morgue in Costa Rica.

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